FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas senator is being accused of using more than $25,000 of General Improvement Fund money for personal use, according to U.S. District Court documents.
A search warrant against Sen. Jake Files, R-Fort Smith, was sought in relation to violation of federal wire-fraud and money-laundering laws, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported . It seeks to seize electronic equipment from FFH Construction LLC., which Files owns.
The affidavit accuses Files of submitting fictitious bids for the city to receive $46,500 in GIF money for utility work at the city-owned River Valley Sports Complex at Chaffee Crossing. The bids were required before the grant money could be released to the city. The money was given to Dianna Gonzalez, an FFH Construction employee, according to the warrant application
Fort Smith terminated its contract with the complex in February after Files and Sebastian County Election Commissioner Lee Webb repeatedly missed deadlines to finish the project. Files and Webb were required to pay back more than $26,900 in grant money.
In a July interview with the FBI, Gonzalez said Files instructed her to open a bank account for the GIF money. She said Files told her that all of his bank accounts were overdrawn. She told the FBI she believed Files created the fictitious bids on his desktop or laptop.
A U.S. attorney’s office spokesman said Monday that Files hasn’t been charged with any crimes.
Files said he has been cooperating with law enforcement and will continue doing so.
“They asked me about the bids, which I have discussed multiple times,” Files said. “I was fully cooperative, and I will continue to be, and that was the end of it.”
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com
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